Putin: russia will not block nation's athletes
MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that individual athletes could decide for themselves whether to compete in the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, after the Russian Olympic team was barred because of a doping program.
He had previously described the International Olympic Committee's eventual punishment of forgoing team uniforms, the flag and the national anthem as a "humiliation."
Putin, who has never admitted the existence of a systematic doping program like the one described by Olympic officials, said those who were guilty should be punished.
"First of all, we need to say straight that to some extent we are guilty ourselves because we gave pretext for this," Putin said. "Second, I think this pretext was used in a not completely honest way, to say the least."
While he said he would not prevent athletes from competing, he questioned why they should not do so under their own flag.
"Undoubtedly, we will not declare any blockade, will not prevent our Olympic athletes from participating, if any one of them wants to participate in their personal capacity," Putin said.
SUMMER GAMES: The IOC has left weightlifting at risk of being cut from the 2024 Olympics and ordered retesting of more stored doping samples from the 2012 London Games. The IOC stripped 29 weightlifting medals after 49 positive tests, most involving steroids, came back from reanalysis of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. The sport stays on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic lineup with 64 fewer athletes and one men's event cut.
Yankees' Boone: Matter of trust
Aaron Boone acknowledges that one of his first tasks as Yankees manager is to convince his players he can do the job.
Boone, 44, was introduced as Joe Girardi's successor at a Yankee Stadium news conference. Boone has never managed or coached at any level, working as a broadcaster since last season after retiring as a player in 2009.
"That's a respect you earn, and hopefully I think in short order I'll be able to earn that respect, that they'll be able to look at me, trust in me, know that I have their interest at heart, but know that hopefully I know what the heck I'm talking about," he said.
"I'm certainly confident in my ability. Big-league players are great at understanding who's for real or not, and I'd like to think that they'll know that in very short order."
Boone will wear uniform 17, his number with Cincinnati and Cleveland; pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has the No. 19 jersey Boone wore with the Yankees in 2003.
Boone is the third new manager among the 10 teams that reached this past season's playoffs, joining Boston's Alex Cora and Washington's Dave Martinez.
EPL sweeps Champions League
England has become the first country to have five teams in the knockout stage of the Champions League after Liverpool completed a sweep for Premier League clubs with a 7-0 thrashing of visiting Spartak Moscow. Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea advanced out of the group stage. Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk advanced with a 2-1 upset win over Manchester City, ending the English club's unbeaten record in all competitions this season. Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score in all six group-stage matches as host Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2.
AUTOS: NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram remains in intensive care at an Asheville, N.C., hospital from a car accident that occurred Sunday. Ingram, 80, was struck by a pickup truck one block from the former Asheville Motor Speedway.